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06-06-2011

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"Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-07, 5:09 AM

I have spent days struggling to get Windows 7 to boot/install/repair, and have managed to leave my machine entirely unusable, with only beeps to hint at the issue. The beeps are two long beeps followed by three short beeps that are higher in pitch. I can't find this POST/BIOS beep code in the HMM.

 

Most recent change: select "OS Optimized Defaults" in the BIOS.

Previous change: disabling "aggressive power management" in BIOS

Previous change: bootrec to rebuildbcd after several failed startup repair attempts. Previous symptom: black screen of death, error code 0xc00000e9

Previous symptoms: shows Lenovo screen 3 times, each time saying "press Enter to interrupt normal startup" , something about Intel PXE, then reach Windows startup screen (or Bios or boot menu if I press buttons), no Windows icon, then above error …

 

... it's been a mess. i've tried a clean install several times, and all the most common tips (unplugging USB, startup repair, system restore, safe mode, last known good configuration, don't require signed drivers). 

 

What's weird is that, until now, sometimes the computer would boot if I tried enough times.

 

Specs: Lenovo Thinkstation C30 type 1136

 

OS: Windows 7 Pro 64-bit.

 

Install media: one trusty USB thumb drive that I have used for a dozen installs over the years. other install media: an HP recovery disk with windows.

 

Processor: Xeon E5? 2620 I think. 6 or 8 cores, 2.0 GHZ

 

Boot/OS drive: Samsung mSata PM851 256gb SSD, mounted on motherboard.
Curiously, the msata drive is listed as F:

 

Graphics: NVIDIA Quadro 2000D

 

Data drives: Samsung 840 Pro 512GB x 2, not in RAID, each plugged in to one of two red Sata 3 6Gbps ports on motherboard.

 

Memory: 8GB RAM, was installed when I bought the machine used... recently.

 

The machine came with a 3.5" Western Digital Blue that was wiped, so I had to install clean. It worked but was horrendously slow. Drive failing,  perhaps?

 

Now I see no Lenovo screen, no option for booting, and nothing on the display at all.

 

The goal was a dual-boot Windows 7/Linux machine (RedHat is officially certified but I hoped for Ubuntu or Debian).

 

Where do I go from here? the Thinkstation C30 Hardware Maintenance Manual doesn't seem to help. Any suggestions?

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4843 Posts

02-22-2010

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  • Message 2 of 7

Re: "Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-07, 15:40 PM

Yikes.  This looks like it got ugly fast :)

 

You'll want to approach this in pieces, focusing on getting BIOS back to normal first.  I think your beep codes are referring to BIOS not being able to find a suitable video OPROM to load.  The first part of the sequence is referencing a a video OPROM problem, and the last two higher pitched beeps are basically a POST error that you can't see because of the video OPROM problem.  Flipping OS Optimized Defaults to enabled puts the system in full UEFI mode.  If I recall correctly, there were versions of the Q2000D card that did not have a hybrid OPROM (i.e. one that was capable of booting both Legacy and UEFI) and it had a Legacy-only OPROM.  So when you flipped the system into UEFI mode, that caused the problem with the video OPROM.  

 

Given where you are with things, I'd recommend starting with an attempt to clear CMOS.  If that doesn't work, then you'll need to move on to trying a full boot block recovery.

 

These procedures should be highlighted in the HMM/user guide, but I can give a quick overview here.

 

Clear CMOS:

- unplug system, open cover, find JP4 (Clear CMOS jumper).

- move JP4 from pins 1 and 2 to pins 2 and 3 (clear position)

- plug AC power, and power system on.  You should hear two beeps indicating CMOS has cleared.

- If you hear the beeps, power off and move JP4 back to pins 1-2 (normal position)

- See if the system boots and allows you to enter BIOS setup.

 

If clearing CMOS doesn't work, then move on to a boot block recovery.

- on a working system, download the latest BIOS ISO file for your system.

- create a bootable disc from the ISO file (double click ISO in win7 and it should launch the utility to create media from the ISO).  Do not simply burn the ISO file to a CD/DVD.

- once the bootable disc is created from the ISO, move JP4 on the failing unit to the clear position (pins 2-3)

- insert the disc into the failing system

- boot the system.  It should clear CMOS and then start to access the ODD to recover.  Let this process complete.  I believe it will shut down when finished.

 

 

Once BIOS is recovered and booting correctly, I'd suggest sticking in Legacy mode in BIOS unless you have a specific need to move to UEFI (such as needing to support GPT boot partitions).  If you need to move to UEFI mode, you'll likely need to either change graphics cards to one that has a UEFI OPROM onboard (or a hybrid OPROM) or go see if there is a VBIOS update for the Q2000D that will allow for a hybrid OPROM.

 

Let's start with getting BIOS working correctly first and then we can move on to the other items you're having trouble with.

 

 




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Re: "Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-09, 5:35 AM

So far, so good!

 

I have a working BIOS after a failed CMOS reset, so I followed your instructions for boot block recovery.

 

Actually, because I don't have easy access to a disc burner, I adapted your instructions from a forum post to a D30 owner with POST error problems  .

 

Namely, I formatted a USB drive to FAT, downloaded the latest BIOS for my machine type, extracted the files, copied them to the root directory of the USB drive, inserted into a USB 2.0 port, and let it do its magic.

 

I got an American Megatrends screen complaining about no keyboard but it responded to keyboard input and allowed me to enter BIOS setup.  So, I changed the boot mode from 'Auto' to 'Legacy' and confirmed boot device order was correct.

 

I attempted a boot from the MSata drive where OS is installed but got a Windows Failed to Start screen about the lack of bootrec or /boot/MBR (I'm remembering this wording wrong but it's the same screen I had seen a dozen times before).

 

At this point I would expect to attempt a clean Windows installation.  What are your thoughts on that next step?

 

Many thanks for even reading--much less replying--to my post.  I've been a vocal loyalist for a while now but this mess had me thoroughly stumped.  What's next?

 

-JV474

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  • Message 4 of 7

Re: "Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-09, 17:59 PM

Is there a reason you are messing with the boot mode settings (and UEFI/legacy mode in general)?

 

If you plan to enable UEFI, all you should need to change is to set OS Optimized Defaults to enabled.  This is a global switch that will set up everything to in UEFI mode (normally used for win8/10).  If you plan to use legacy mode, simply load defaults (F9) since that is the default mode for this platform.

 

Keep in mind that your image needs to be partitioned such that it will work with BIOS.  If you switch to UEFI, your partition must be GPT.  If you're in legacy mode, you can boot MBR or GPT partitions, but they are capped at ~2TB in size.

 

If your mSATA drive already has an image on it, I'd be willing to bet it's partitioned as MBR so I would load BIOS defaults (F9) and see if it will boot with those settings.




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242 Posts

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  • Message 5 of 7

Re: "Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-09, 21:05 PM

The only reason for changing anything in BIOS was following suggestions found on other forums. When none of those worked, I started looking for settings that seemed they could lead to a non-boot situation. In other words, just pressing buttons and trying again, but without a clear understanding.

 

Maybe this is why those posts weren't marked as "Solved." :-)

 

I'll put defaults as you suggest and attempt.

 

Thanks again,

-JV474

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  • Message 6 of 7

Re: "Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-09, 21:17 PM

No worries :)  I just wanted to make sure I wasn't overlooking a detail from your original request.

 

I think you should be OK using defaults based on what I've read.  Give it a try and if you are still running into troubles, let us know.

 

I think a clean re-install on the mSATA drive should go pretty smoothly since the mSATA port is routed to the legacy AHCI controller as I recall.  So you shouldn't encounter any driver issues.  If you were using the blue RSTe ports for your boot device, then you'd likely have to provide the RSTe driver for the installation to see the target drive.  mSATA should be covered natively though.




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242 Posts

06-06-2011

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  • Message 7 of 7

Re: "Bricked" Thinkstation C30, now with beep codes

2017-03-13, 4:20 AM

So far, so good...?


It took about a dozen attempts before Windows 7 would install.  It has now installed and has booted from the msata drive as intended.

 

Along the way there were several failed efforts, leading to black screens, 0xc00000e9 errors, and the like.

 

The working combination (ie that completed the install) was:

- clean install

- remove all drives except msata

- remove all partitions until there was just unpartitioned space

- F9 defaults did not allow a completed install but Legacy Only did

- F8 and pick options until one worked and the installation completed (2 out of 3 times I just get a black screen with apparent disk activity but no flickering on the disk activity LED, and nothing happens). Sometimes the one that works is Start Windows normally but not always.

- install .Net framework then System Update, install all available, download NVidia Quadro 2000D driver, basically everything I can until a reboot is required.

 

The next reboot did not do anything besides black screen.  Sometimes F8 doesn't do anything but the next time it does.  Maybe after a few reboots/updates that behavior will go away.

 

If I should proceed differently I will, but that's as far as I've gotten.

 

-JV474

 

 

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